Blood component bacterial contamination

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Bacterial sepsis is second only to ABO incompatibility as a cause of death from transfusion.

Bacterial contamination of platelets is recognised as the most significant residual infectious risk of transfusion in developed countries.

All platelet components from the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood are screened for bacterial contamination. This is a significant step in improving the safety of the blood supply.

The removal of potentially bacteria-contaminated components from the blood supply prior to transfusion can help avoid adverse outcomes.

Additionally, knowledge of potential bacterial contamination should enable early clinical review and consideration of antibiotic intervention in situations where components have already been transfused.

Lifeblood continuously monitors bacterial contamination rates in Australia and these numbers are in line with international published data of approximately 1 in 1000 - 3000 units of platelets (single donor apheresis and whole blood pooled platelets). (1-3)

  1. Védy, Dana et al. “Bacterial Contamination of Platelet Concentrates: Pathogen Detection and Inactivation Methods.” Hematology Reviews 1.1 (2009): e5. PMC. Web. 24 Nov. 2016.
  2. Hillyer CD, Josephson CD, Blajchman MA, et al. Bacterial contamination of blood components: risks, strategies, and regulation: joint ASH and AABB educational session in transfusion medicine. Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program. 2003:575–89.
  3. Palavecino E, Yomtovian R. Risk and prevention of transfusion-related sepsis. Curr Opin Hematol. 2003;10:434–9.